Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why Did Irenaeus Identify Pontius Pilate as the governor of Claudius'? [Part Four]

Irenaeus is by far the most interesting Church Father. I have been noting that many scholars when reconstructing Hegesippus's lost Hypomnemata fail to include Irenaeus as a source for this five volume historical chronology (which Eusebius's Church History largely appropriated its core material).

I have cited the scholarship that demonstrates that Irenaeus, Eusebius and Epiphanius are all referencing its chronology of the Roman episcopal line. Indeed Eusebius makes EXPLICIT that the context of this citation of the Roman episcopal line in 'Hegesippus' is a discussion in the original source of 1Clement.

I was just reading this morning that one of my favorite scholars - Robert McQueen Grant- raises other questions about the parallel passage in Irenaeus which I didn't even consider. Grant cites the same section I have repeatedly referenced:

In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome despatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spake with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolical tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another god beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things. To this Clement there succeeded Evaristus. Alexander followed Evaristus; then, sixth from the apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telephorus, who was gloriously martyred; then Hyginus; after him, Pius; then after him, Anicetus. Soter having succeeded Anicetus, Eleutherius does now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the episcopate. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth.

Grant notes that what appears here in red DOES NOT represent a summary of the actual contents of 1Clement. He writes "This does not accurately reflect the content of 1 Clement, although B, Botte argued that Irenaeus is combining 1 Clement with 2 Clement, where fire is mentioned." [Irenaeus of Lyons p. 7] He struggles with this 'problem of history' and ultimately puts forward someone else's solution which he admits in the footnotes leaves more questions than answers.

I am starting to wonder if Grant has overlooked the possibility that Irenaeus is citing Hegesippus's summary of the letter to the Corinthians. In other words, yet another Irenaean citation of the Hegesippus-Josephus tradition which might be related to his strange idea that Jesus was crucified by Pilate and Herod under Claudius. The material common to Eusebius and Epiphanius's citation of Hegesippus is referenced in blue.

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